U.S. unlearns lessons of Pearl Harbor; intelligence leaders show failure to anticipate a surprise attack

Dec. 7, 2021
Probing actions of the great powers are as dangerous and destabilizing as any act of war that precipitated the great wars of the previous century.

WASHINGTON – Eighty years ago, the world changed forever. In the early hours of December 7, 1941, Japanese warplanes launched from the decks of a fleet of Japanese Imperial Navy aircraft carriers that had surreptitiously departed Japan months before navigated a circuitous route across the North Pacific Ocean, toward the U.S. Navy and Army Air Corps facilities on the Hawaiian Islands. Asia Times reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

7 Dec. 2021 -- As the historian Roberta Wohlstetter assessed in her review of the Pearl Harbor attack, U.S. intelligence was aware of the rising threat toward the Americans in the Pacific posed by Japan. Yet the intelligence mosaic was never properly pieced together by policymakers in Washington, D.C. A similar pattern of failure persists today, despite the generous funding that the U.S. intelligence community currently receives.

Three generations have passed since the Second World War jolted the U.S. from its peaceful isolation and thrust it into the (unwanted) starring role on the world stage. Since that time, the country – and the world – has been profoundly changed.

New technologies, sociopolitical arrangements, and an all-volunteer military force have reshaped the U.S. into a country that no one living in 1941 would have recognized. Yet the one thing that has remained consistent between 1941 and 2021 is the abject failure of America’s leaders to anticipate and avert a surprise attack from a strategic rival.

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John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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